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October 5, 2011 7:41 PM   Subscribe


 
Yay! I just ordered a suit and now I have something to try with it!
posted by mindsound at 7:46 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]




Hot.
posted by The Whelk at 8:02 PM on October 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I read about this on Jezebel earlier today and I'm not sure that I totally buy the political angle. I don't doubt that the artist intended it, but these just seem kind of silly and don't resonate as a political statement (to me; YMMV).

The cheesecake boys that bewilderbeast posted, while not necessarily inherently political, seem to make a stronger statement to me. Maybe it's just because I find them less "silly" and more sexual (i.e., the comparison between them and pin-up girls is more direct).
posted by asnider at 8:03 PM on October 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


also they're wearing more clothing, mostly re: legs.
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 PM on October 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Maybe it's just because I find them less "silly" and more sexual (i.e., the comparison between them and pin-up girls is more direct).

I think pointing out how silly the pin-up photos are is a pretty good point.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:10 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


But these men aren't even hot in any way. Pinup girls would be hot even without the strange context of the photos. These things do context but without the hot.
posted by yesster at 8:14 PM on October 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Next logical step is to do a female Tom of Finland series. Can someone get on that?
posted by jph at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2011 [18 favorites]


I can;t find anyone with both arms and chests three times the size of their head with uniform Nordic features jph
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2011


Chyna. I'm so good to you, Whelk.
posted by jph at 8:17 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, that second guy (with the shovel) is pretty darn hot.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:18 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]




But these men aren't even hot in any way.

If a date this weekend with Mr. Shovel Man is what it will take to disprove this, I'll happily take one for the team.
posted by hermitosis at 8:18 PM on October 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


I agree, I'll go out with the last guy and report back.
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 PM on October 5, 2011


This feels like a first year art school project to me. There's a concept, but it's not very well developed, and the end result doesn't say anything new or particularly interesting about gender roles.

The faux aged-paper effect doesn't help.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:19 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


that faux-aged paper effect is regrettable, it would have been neat to try to simulate the airbrushed painted stylization of pin-up with live models and lighting and the like.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the baseball player is hot too. Mumble mumble bat and balls mumble mumble.
posted by jph at 8:21 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Next logical step is to do a female Tom of Finland series. Can someone get on that?

They'd just be the same, only posed more woodenly and drawn more crappily.

But, yeah: There is already male cheesecake. It is called beefcake. These guys are trying to reinvent the wheel and call it political.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:22 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


(And by that Tom of Finland bashing, I only mean to say that he's no Harry Bush by any stretch.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:23 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


so much whimsy, so little effect on the subjugation of the fairer sex!
posted by oblio_one at 8:23 PM on October 5, 2011


How about Government made and approved beefcake ?
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 PM on October 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yes, but what I really want to see is a woman wearing aviators and a handlebar mustache.
posted by jph at 8:24 PM on October 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Pinup girls would be hot even without the strange context of the photos

...welll, I'm not entirely sure. A whole lot of the supposed hotness lives in the context, not the person. WE had a thread a while back about the photos that were the foundations for some famous vintage pinups, and the women are not unattractive but it's really interesting to see what differences the artist created between their real appearance and the idealized one. THen, too, the women are performing sexuality using poses and expressions they wouldn't wear in daily life.
posted by Miko at 8:25 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


and the poses and models where still idealized and stylized to conform to a Type.
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 PM on October 5, 2011


..you realize that the guys are attractive enough but look really silly, and then realize that women in those shots are just as exaggeratedly and manufactured-ly silly, as well.
posted by Miko at 8:28 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


(for one thing, they all averaged out and genericed the facial features)
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 PM on October 5, 2011


Yes, but what I really want to see is a woman wearing aviators and a handlebar mustache.

Horseshoe, not handlebar. The more you know...
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"But these men aren't even hot in any way."

Uh, speak for yourself.
posted by MadamM at 8:40 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, but what I really want to see is a woman wearing aviators and a handlebar mustache.
posted by jph


You should try public transportation some time. I saw an older lady with pedo glasses and a foo man chu, if that counts...
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:42 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Next logical step is to do a female Tom of Finland series.

Done and done.
posted by pullayup at 8:52 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe they wouldn't look so "absurd" in the poses if they were half-naked. Where's the oopsy! underwear revealing, shirts billowing in the breeze, and packages straining against tight buttons?

Also, they might not look so silly if any of those guys were any good at making a pouty face.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:58 PM on October 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


@pullayup...where is that extra foot underneath Batman coming from? I can't believe her leg is so long that it can wrap around like that without being broken...not to mention that it would probably fall asleep PDQ :-)

As for the male pin ups, I would prefer them if they were rendered artistically instead of photographed. Photography can be too stark and clean whereas a softer technique would be more interesting IMHO.
posted by Calzephyr at 9:10 PM on October 5, 2011


I think pointing out how silly the pin-up photos are is a pretty good point.

Fair point. I think the beefcake paintings are pretty silly, too, though. It's just that they're not necessarily trying to be silly.
posted by asnider at 9:17 PM on October 5, 2011


I think the only point being made is that it's about time we made a calendar.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:19 PM on October 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Western Photography Guild - Lon of New York - Bruce of LA - Kris Studio. It's all been done. Years and years ago. (NSFW) BigKugels.com has a good examples.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:20 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jackhammer vs. Muscles
posted by Anything at 9:23 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]



Jackhammer vs. Muscles yt


...oh my
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 PM on October 5, 2011


Western Photography Guild - Lon of New York - Bruce of LA - Kris Studio. It's all been done.


He's so happy to be there!
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


er
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 PM on October 5, 2011


thank you The Whelk -- your links help prove my point, poorly articulated: These photographs were taken by somebody who might be making fun of the female pinup genre, but completely doesn't understand the erotic potential of the male body.
posted by yesster at 9:37 PM on October 5, 2011 [11 favorites]



thank you The Whelk -- your links help prove my point, poorly articulated: These photographs were taken by somebody who might be making fun of the female pinup genre, but completely doesn't understand the erotic potential of the male body.


That's when a dude's wearing an awesome coat AND an awesome fedora, right?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:43 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


This was sorta done not long ago.

joo
posted by infini at 9:43 PM on October 5, 2011


> er

I've seen plenty of sideboob in my time, but that's the first time I've ever seen sidenad. Also note his circumcised bell-end is so large that it's a camel toe. That's quite the glans, I must say.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:09 PM on October 5, 2011


these guys are not really attractive enough for this
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:38 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]



these guys are not really attractive enough for this
posted by This, of course, alludes to you


That's what I said!
posted by yesster at 10:41 PM on October 5, 2011


Sometimes I really hate your username.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:41 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Hot."

Ha! When I saw this link, I thought, "Is The Whelk behind this?"
posted by klangklangston at 10:44 PM on October 5, 2011


I am behind everything
posted by The Whelk at 10:53 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]



Ha! When I saw this link, I thought, "Is The Whelk behind this?"
posted by klangklangston at 3:44 PM on October 6 [+] [!]


I may be intensely uncomfortable with the very notion of the human body, but I know what Metafilter likes!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:22 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's just keep dropping letters from the word "flicker" til we're just left with F!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:26 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


*tastefully hoses down The Whelk with soda water*

Down, boy! Down! Jesus, you're going to strain something!
posted by loquacious at 11:27 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


In exchange, you gotta post an Amy Pond cosplay gallery....
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:33 PM on October 5, 2011


Soda water is good on stains, yes.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 11:51 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Jezebel link is a must-read for context here. The artist is more interested in making you think + making fun art than making any one point. Before I had all kinds of critiques of the politics of the work but now I'm all, "Hey, neat project."
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:35 AM on October 6, 2011


The difference between the Cheesecake and these, is that the cheesecake guys are being active. They're jogging, playing with the dog, performing household maintenance, etc. The pin up boys (and girls) are just in a bizarre pose, sometimes with some props. I think that's the point.

Also, pretty sure the cheesecake isn't suppose to be political, just hot.
posted by Garm at 12:59 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish male sexiness was allowed to be passive. I'd rather be pampered and admired than forced to DO SOMETHING to be sexy.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:34 AM on October 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd rather be pampered and admired than forced to DO SOMETHING to be sexy.

Your partner doesn't pamper and admire you, LIB? Hmm... maybe you just need to DO SOMETHING, um... admirable.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:56 AM on October 6, 2011


Jezebel: "The one with the beard has become something of a fan favorite it seems."

Love.it. Besides having the best beard I have ever set my eyes upon, Kienan Almeida is a super talented artist at USF.
posted by _superconductor at 2:58 AM on October 6, 2011


Maybe I'm biased because I'm using their work extensively in my thesis (aheghehmouthbreathe), but I prefer Pierre et Gilles.
posted by Mooseli at 4:15 AM on October 6, 2011


These photographs were taken by somebody who might be making fun of the female pinup genre, but completely doesn't understand the erotic potential of the male body.

This was my reaction, too. I'm assuming the de-eroticisation was deliberate, but it also disconnects it even more from the genre, which is an odd choice.
posted by Forktine at 4:45 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am behind everything

*giggle*
posted by odinsdream at 5:25 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want to see some prettier boys in nicer clothes. These guys just look silly.
posted by mermayd at 5:29 AM on October 6, 2011




This feels like a first year art school project to me.

Open Final / Project 4
Intermediate Photo (Spring 2011)

posted by yerfatma at 5:51 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found these a bit annoying, actually. Because the subtext I got was "this is satiric because it's funny to think of women wanting to look at pictures of men performing sexual allure!" It's like the critique is supposed to go "men are normal; when men perform erotic poses they look ridiculous; therefore, pin-ups of women are ridiculous and sexist".

Seriously, I'm not even into cis dudes and yet various Querelle-esque images of them are all alluring and stuff.

I was thinking about this on the bike ride to work: even though I'm extremely boringly feminist, I do not like the idea (implicit in this type of critique) that seduction and erotic performance are themselves suspect or victimizing or risible. Strangely, I think this is because I've been looking at a lot of queer tumblr stuff lately, and there's quite a lot of erotic/seductive posturing by people who are not fashion models or cis women or women at all.

There's this thing (a straight-people thing?) where being the desired one is either immoral (women being too sexy and the men are helpless before their wiles) or degrading (slutty women!) or else it has to be naive (Oh, she doesn't realize that her skirt is riding up!). But that's not the only way for things to work.
posted by Frowner at 6:15 AM on October 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


These could use a bit of the old "oh my goodness, I've just discovered that I have these rather large breasts" look.
posted by sonascope at 6:16 AM on October 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thanks Sys Rq. I'm such a terrible otter. I don't even know the difference between a handlebar and a horseshoe mustache. I'm going to go get waxed in penance.
posted by jph at 6:57 AM on October 6, 2011


The difference between the Cheesecake and these, is that the cheesecake guys are being active

I know I spend a lot of time leaning wisttfully against large pillars in my mesh speedo looking into the distance.
posted by The Whelk at 7:05 AM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've seen plenty of sideboob in my time, but that's the first time I've ever seen sidenad. Also note his circumcised bell-end is so large that it's a camel toe. That's quite the glans, I must say.

Am I the only one who read this comment on an Ed Grimley-voice?
posted by griphus at 7:35 AM on October 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Seeing these just reinforces the idea in my mind of how ridiculous pin-up poses are in general. No one, female or male, ever contorts themselves into these positions other than in some photographer's studio.

Yeah, yeah I know I'm missing the point.
posted by tommasz at 8:14 AM on October 6, 2011


Why, tommasz, just last night I had a really tight hamstring that was bothering me, and as I hoisted my two legs up against the wall, lying flat on my back, I thought, "Golly I hope the neighbors can't see me in this position!" Just in case, I pursed my lips and touched my index finger to them, gently arching my eyebrows to look as innocent as possible.
posted by jph at 8:21 AM on October 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Tough crowd. I think the "not attractive enough for this" aspect is part of the point of this little escapade. That said, most of these dudes are much more than sufficiently alluring.
posted by blucevalo at 8:24 AM on October 6, 2011


I'm glad we're getting this out of our system. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go tuck my candy, put on some lipstick and do some vacuuming.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:25 AM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I found these a bit annoying, actually. Because the subtext I got was "this is satiric because it's funny to think of women wanting to look at pictures of men performing sexual allure!" It's like the critique is supposed to go "men are normal; when men perform erotic poses they look ridiculous; therefore, pin-ups of women are ridiculous and sexist". "

I think that's missing the point. The parody's pretty obvious, and that's that the modes of sexual performance for male gaze are ridiculous, not that men are normal. These poses are contrived and assume an audience of straight men; by putting men into the object position, it interrupts the unreflective pleasure-taking view of women as erotic performers in this specific mode as normal.

I think your view of how you think "straight people" see erotic performance is needlessly reductive, especially with regard to this project, and because of that, you're missing the point of these images in what they say about the specific mode of erotic performance, rather than erotic performance as a whole. Give us a little bit of credit, please.
posted by klangklangston at 9:39 AM on October 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think your view of how you think "straight people" see erotic performance is needlessly reductive, especially with regard to this project, and because of that, you're missing the point of these images in what they say about the specific mode of erotic performance, rather than erotic performance as a whole. Give us a little bit of credit, please.

But there are lots of posed/contrived/super-duper performative things - poses no one would assume except to titillate, blah blah - in burlesque and in all kinds of queer imagery. Now, I'm pretty darn skeptical of almost all mainstream burlesque/retro-pin-up crap, but I've seen quite a lot of interesting non-mainstream queer-sensibility stuff that doesn't strike me as ridiculous - I can't link because I'm at work, sadly - even though it's just as posed. To what extent is this in dialogue with mainstream pin-up stuff and to what degree is it separate? I don't know.

This whole critique seems to rest on the idea that there's no way a man in those poses could possibly, possibly be non-ridiculous. Ridiculous to straight men because he is the subject of an erotic gaze; ridiculous to women because he's "acting like a woman" and therefore not sexually attractive. Thus rendering gay men and women who are attracted to non-gender-conforming men not only invisible but impossible. Like, it's assumed by this project that some dude all splayed out in a silly/vulnerable pose is never attractive but is naturally ridiculous.

And then this is used as a reverse critique of women as pin-ups (I'm not sure if I was completely clear before or not - can't tell from your reply). The logic isn't that "men [the male gaze] is normal" it's that "women should be treated like men [assumption], who represent the human norm [assumption]. Men look ridiculous in pin-up poses [assumption]. Therefore, if we look at pin-up poses in the "correct" way, we should understand that women too look ridiculous in them because the human norm, or men, look ridiculous, so we should not enjoy pin-up poses."

As far as queer vs. straight - it seems to me that the hegemonic straight ideas of sexuality rest on the ideas that there's one half of the sexual dyad who is desired and looked at, who embodies sex, and that being the one who is looked at and physically desired is demeaning and lesser, shameful and carnal. That there's no reciprocal desire, and that there is either no power in being seen or that the power thereby attained is bad and shameful.

This is why the "work" of being beautiful is shamed and made invisible, although it's mandatory for gender success. If being "beautiful" can be achieved through poses and costume and make-up and pretense - through performance - then there's no reason that men can't be pin-ups, you know? And there's no reason that women have to. There is no naturally occurring sex class which has to do the work of embodying sexuality and bear its burdens. (Which is where women end up - too sexy, not sexy enough; too maternal, not maternal enough; unwilling to be the beautiful girl who goes out with a guy who's a total schlub on every level, etc)

This is certainly under challenge from a variety of angles - corporate desire for men to spend more, queer critique, feminist critique, porn industry stuff - and it's changing in a variety of ways.

Honestly, a little Jean Genet would go a lot further in challenging straight-guy attitudes about this "male gaze" stuff than any number of kitsch "LOL men pouting" pictures.
posted by Frowner at 10:27 AM on October 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


There's this thing (a straight-people thing?) where being the desired one is either immoral (women being too sexy and the men are helpless before their wiles) or degrading (slutty women!) or else it has to be naive (Oh, she doesn't realize that her skirt is riding up!). But that's not the only way for things to work.

I'm not sure that this is a straight-people thing, but it is a thing. And it's stupid. Being the desired one -- regardless of gender -- can be extremely powerful. It doesn't have to be immoral, or degrading, or naive. And I don't think that it is always seen that way.

Feeling desired can be empowering.
posted by asnider at 10:29 AM on October 6, 2011


Honestly, a little Jean Genet would go a lot further in challenging straight-guy attitudes about this "male gaze" stuff than any number of kitsch "LOL men pouting" pictures.

the movie version of Querelle is here to fuck up your gender norms! And your hot sailors!
posted by The Whelk at 10:31 AM on October 6, 2011


(Oh, by "straight" I did not mean "all straight people feel this way [because they are WRONG! Or naive! Or it's just a problem with being straight!]....I meant "straightness is constructed in a particular way, just as "the idea of whiteness", which is distinct from "individual white people, is propped up by some harmful ideas about race and about people of color".
posted by Frowner at 10:32 AM on October 6, 2011


(Also, I am horrified that I just wrote a defense of burlesque. Another person ruined by tumblr images.
posted by Frowner at 10:38 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This whole critique seems to rest on the idea that there's no way a man in those poses could possibly, possibly be non-ridiculous.

I'm willing to say that no, there is no way for them to appear non-ridiculous. The only way I can mentally achieve that is to admire them for their apparent wit and willingness to play along with the project, which implies that they share in the critique of those kinds of images and are willing to make a little fun of them.

Ridiculous to straight men because he is the subject of an erotic gaze;

I don't think this is fair. I've certainly been around a lot of straight men who are able to notice and appreciate when other men are legitimately the subject of an erotic gaze. I hear comments about it all the time. Just being the subject of an erotic gaze does not automatically make a man look ridiculous.

ridiculous to women because he's "acting like a woman" and therefore not sexually attractive.

This isn't why I find them ridiculous, as a woman. They're ridiculous because the poses are contrived, silly, and unnatural and don't resonate with any genuine experience of sexuality that I have as a person in a body, other than the fact that I recognize them as 'erotic' because this is a trained response I've developed through living in our culture.

So whatever you think other people are seeing in these images, I can say that I don't see what you're seeing, and I don't think the straight men I know, who are perfectly capable of perceiving, admiring, and sometimes imitating more stereotypically male erotic power and performance, are seeing what you think they are either.

I think we're all seeing a play on something that is legimitately ridiculous. This is right in line with what's happening in queer performance styles and burlesque culture, not in opposition to it. Drag, burleseque, and gender bending performance plays on these tropes in order to layer them with further comment - but their very oddness exactly why they're played on. They're puzzling and extreme performances of a sexuality defined externally, and defined in a monolithically male-oriented media culture and patriarchal context which created a narrow definition for sexual attractiveness. One can comment on that by performing such poses and tropes with an ironic sincerity, but that doesn't mean they were not silly to begin with, even if they were erotically powerful in an uncomplicated way to some people at some times. The thing is, they were always exaggerated and highly manipulated images. Of course, it also doesn't mean the images aren't still arousing in some way, lending them further power which fuels their appeal, as they create both prompts for the culturally trained 'this is what sexy sex looks like' responses and the more possibly hardwired 'I'm seeing a nekkid body' responses.

But no, I don't think there's any way I can look at the poses and not find them ridiculous. I might still find them sexy, funny, appealing, in addition to other things, but I can never say they're not ridiculous. Because they are intentionally exaggerated to the point of being ridiculous. That's part of what they are constructed to communicate.
posted by Miko at 11:21 AM on October 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


it seems to me that the hegemonic straight ideas of sexuality rest on the ideas that there's one half of the sexual dyad who is desired and looked at, who embodies sex, and that being the one who is looked at and physically desired is demeaning and lesser, shameful and carnal. That there's no reciprocal desire, and that there is either no power in being seen or that the power thereby attained is bad and shameful.

This doesn't square at all with my experience of heterosexuality, either as desirer or desiree.
posted by Miko at 11:24 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Men and women (on average) have very different ideas of what is and is not sexy. Film at 11.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:20 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just because I find them less "silly" and more sexual (i.e., the comparison between them and pin-up girls is more direct).

I think pointing out how silly the pin-up photos are is a pretty good point.


But pin-ups aren't any sillier than your modern pornography. They are sexualized poses, not silly.

I think it's more interesting to see how the sexualization of men and women is constructed. Compare male and female models in print advertising. Count how many women are lying down, on the ground, or with their feet off the ground compared to the men.

No one, female or male, ever contorts themselves into these positions other than in some photographer's studio.

Speak for yourself. Some people just like to look (and pose) more than others, regardless if a camera is involved.

Great commentary, Frowner.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:39 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like, it's assumed by this project that some dude all splayed out in a silly/vulnerable pose is never attractive but is naturally ridiculous.

Some symbols that are attractive to some people and are indicative of eros or fertility can look kind of ridiculous outside context.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:06 PM on October 6, 2011


Some symbols that are attractive to some people...

Although it is an easy assumption to make, it's worth bearing in mind that, at least as far as I'm aware, we have no evidence that Venus figurines are meant to represent attractiveness, as opposed to being, say, purely totemic.
posted by Dim Siawns at 1:27 PM on October 6, 2011


I'm not sure that this is a straight-people thing, but it is a thing. And it's stupid. Being the desired one -- regardless of gender -- can be extremely powerful. It doesn't have to be immoral, or degrading, or naive. And I don't think that it is always seen that way.

Feeling desired can be empowering.


Can it? Be admired simply for your mortal shell, rather than what is inside that shell?

I spend time around the burlesque/rockabilly crowd and it does seem faintly silly.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:53 PM on October 6, 2011


Can it? Be admired simply for your mortal shell, rather than what is inside that shell?

Being desired doesn't exclude being admired for "what's inside." And, even if it does, being desired for your physical appearance can be empowering. Not always and not in all contexts, but it can be.
posted by asnider at 2:56 PM on October 6, 2011


Being desired doesn't exclude being admired for "what's inside." And, even if it does, being desired for your physical appearance can be empowering. Not always and not in all contexts, but it can be.

I used to think that too, but I recently found out that fedoras are no longer hot.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:24 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


But pin-ups aren't any sillier than your modern pornography. They are sexualized poses, not silly.

They are all sexualized poses, and silly. Modern porn poses - the standard ones, anyhow - have the same element of ridiculous extremity as pinup illustrations, but usually less styling and storytelling.
posted by Miko at 3:44 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had been wondering about this myself. I see the pin-up as a key part of our historical/cultural visual language of female sexuality. It's silly when men do it because culture is pretty random and silly when taken out of context.

From the links above it looks like the male version has it's own tropes as well-
posted by abirdinthehand at 8:04 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, having looked at more mainsteam porn than I would advise for anyone, mainstream photographed porn has as much ridiculousness and just as much storytelling, sometimes more. That's because porn editors become inured over time to the ridiculous poses, but think readers need stories.

If you should ever find yourself with a collection of Hustlers from the last five years, you'll note that a huge number of scenarios for girl copy (which is written after the photos are taken) are based on either scenes from or whole John Irving novels, because the guy who wrote all that stuff was a huge Irving fan.

But given that pretty much all photographed porn (which is a different medium from videorecorded porn) runs in eight- to twelve-page spreads, editors choose sets from photographers based on being able to give a clear narrative across the set as one of the criteria.

"But there are lots of posed/contrived/super-duper performative things - poses no one would assume except to titillate, blah blah - in burlesque and in all kinds of queer imagery. Now, I'm pretty darn skeptical of almost all mainstream burlesque/retro-pin-up crap, but I've seen quite a lot of interesting non-mainstream queer-sensibility stuff that doesn't strike me as ridiculous - I can't link because I'm at work, sadly - even though it's just as posed. To what extent is this in dialogue with mainstream pin-up stuff and to what degree is it separate? I don't know. "

Well, I hope you're not at work now, and can link to some, because I'm not clear on what you're using to distinguish ridiculous from not, and given the huge subjective gulf of both humor and sexiness, I'd like you to define it a little bit more, because saying that there's stuff that's "just as posed" isn't as instructive as seeing how it is posed. But almost all of the queer stuff I've seen is very much conscious of and in dialogue with mainstream depictions of female beauty slash male gaze.

"This whole critique seems to rest on the idea that there's no way a man in those poses could possibly, possibly be non-ridiculous. Ridiculous to straight men because he is the subject of an erotic gaze; ridiculous to women because he's "acting like a woman" and therefore not sexually attractive. Thus rendering gay men and women who are attracted to non-gender-conforming men not only invisible but impossible. Like, it's assumed by this project that some dude all splayed out in a silly/vulnerable pose is never attractive but is naturally ridiculous."

Well, first off, I don't think the critique rests on that inevitability, unless you're quibbling semantically. But those poses intentionally have their ridiculousness heightened by both model and photographer, and I think that you're pretty pointedly wrong on your argument of the construction of desire — the poses emphasize artificiality, which is sufficient for being ridiculous. This is especially true given the huge number of erotic men throughout art history. There's no way you're going to tell me that Mapplethorpe's, Minor White's or Thomas Eakins' male nudes aren't suffused with erotic gaze, yet none of them are ridiculous, or even Dianora Niccolini, if you want a straight woman shooting erotic male nudes. That's because while many of them are intentionally submissively posed, the tropes are different.

The other part of why I think that you're being reductive is that there are also plenty of erotic nudes of women that aren't ridiculous, from Stieglitz to Callahan to Nicholas Nixon. They're generally quite different from the tropes of pin-up, and part of that is that pin-ups developed explicitly with a mass male audience and with general disregard for the feelings of the subject.

So it's not that these are ridiculous to men because it's a man assuming a female role, i.e. object of desire, it's the method of that depiction combined with the social expectation of that being a normative female role, something that's short-circuited by a man being shot in the same (or exaggerated) poses.

It's also worth noting that this is all being done fairly consciously, and artists like Pierre et Giles, as mentioned above, make this even more explicit even as they play with other things (like identity and gay iconography).
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 PM on October 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I cede the storytelling point - it's not as if I'm really up on how this stuff is currently presented in print.
posted by Miko at 5:46 AM on October 7, 2011


Be admired simply for your mortal shell, rather than what is inside that shell?

I'd LOVE to read a detailed explanation about how my "mortal shell" is any different than "what is inside that shell". :D

(Thanks for the Pierre & Giles reference. I saw a show a few years ago and was racking my brain to remember it for this thread ...)

Obligatory: Art Frahm: a study of the effects of celery on loose elastic
posted by mrgrimm at 12:03 PM on October 7, 2011


Yes, but what I really want to see is a woman wearing aviators and a handlebar mustache.

I don't know if such women exist yet, but perhaps they will in the future.
posted by homunculus at 10:10 PM on October 8, 2011


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